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How to create graphics for games

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Hello, I am new here and trying to create my first directX game. I know how to program the game I want and use Sprites with Alpha Blending. But, what I can't figure out is the other aspect of the game development, graphics. How do I create an image of something that I want to make and provide animations? Is there a specific program that is used to create graphics? I tried using GIMP to make a spaceship, but did not turn out so well :). I would like just to make a 2D image that has highlights for a sense of light, and a shadow. Any advice on graphics and animations and how to make things from scratch? Regards, Adjutor

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Original post by Adjutor
I am new here and trying to create my first directX game. I know how to program the game I want and use Sprites with Alpha Blending. But, what I can't figure out is the other aspect of the game development, graphics. How do I create an image of something that I want to make and provide animations? Is there a specific program that is used to create graphics? I tried using GIMP to make a spaceship, but did not turn out so well :). I would like just to make a 2D image that has highlights for a sense of light, and a shadow. Any advice on graphics and animations and how to make things from scratch?
You can use any program, I'm a fan of Paint.NET myself.

2D animation is often done by creating several frames on a single image, and then just using a portion of the texture to actually render.

For shadows, you can either embed the shadow in the image (A 50% alpha'd part of the sprite or something), or you could make it a totally separate sprite - that'd allow you to move the shadow independently - for instance for a 2D platformer you'd probably want the shadow to be a separate sprite so you can keep the shadow on the ground below the player when they jump.

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Hello Evil Steve :),

Thank you for the reply. I downloaded the program you suggested, looks nice, simpler too. The problem for me is I would like to make the image, but I have a hard time to make things look right. Basically, I can't draw. I think I'm wording stuff the wrong way, but I have my "idea" of what I need to draw, but I just can't actually draw it and have it look good, 2D, with highlights. Here is an image I found, which I would consider "ideal":

http://www.tutorialhero.com/click-35208-space_ship.php

And here is my "attempted" spaceship:

http://i492.photobucket.com/albums/rr290/Adjutor_msdn/spaceship_04.png

Anyway to make things look right?

Regards,
Adjutor

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I'll move this topic to the Visual Arts forum, you should be able to get a better response there about different techniques for doing art.

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"How to make stuff look right" is a pretty deep question, you know. I can only say that so far your biggest problem seems to be lack of painting skill - the edges are not straight, the highlights/shadows aren't well executed, etc. The best way to fix this is to use a vector drawing program. It will take care of making lines and polygons with straight edges for you (all you have to do is click to plot points), and it will also take care of shading for you when you use gradients. Thus, while your graphics still will not look ideal (vector art takes a lot of skill also), it should be noticably better. I believe GIMP should have some vector drawing tools, but not having used it for several years, I don't know the specifics.

Also, I think I recall seeing an article in the Arts section that said an easy way to make good looking art for beginners is to draw in very high resolution and then scale down, which will smooth out messy curves and shading.

If I were you, I would also try to draw by hand first and then scan and paint over digitally instead of going digital from scratch.

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I don't think GIMP has any support for vector drawing, but what it does have is paths. You can drag around arbitrary curves until you are happy with the line, and then have the program fill in some pixels underneath. Very useful.

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You should also consider which you prefer: programming or art. Focus on one to begin with. The study of either will take you several years to get right.

If you choose programming, then just grab some art from websites that offer them up for free. Then spend all your time programming.

If you choose art, then just grab an engine that you can easily mod. Then spend all your time learning & practicing art.

It's no coincidence that the programmer and the artist of a game are only rarely the same person. Very few people are good at both (probably mainly to do with how long it takes to train for either [smile])

-me

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For people who can't draw, I tend to recommend 3D modeling, then rendering frames of animation to 2D images. Even non-artistically inclined people can get decent results with a 3D model, and since it handles perspective, view, shading, etc... (all the parts of hand-drawing that are trickiest for beginners) in a mathematically correct way, you end up with fewer weird looking animations. Sure, a 'professional' game artist is going to achieve much better results, but you can still get decent programmer art out of it.

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Hello,

Thank you for all of your recommendations. It sounds like to me that the easiest way is to use images from other sites. Does anyone know what sites have images specifically made to be used as game images, no copyright problems?

Also, you guys are mentioning 3D modeling, what programs do you recommend for this? And, are they free to download?

Thank you,
Regards,
Adjutor

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Quote:
Original post by Adjutor
Does anyone know what sites have images specifically made to be used as game images, no copyright problems?

Check the forum's FAQs.
Quote:
Original post by Adjutor
Also, you guys are mentioning 3D modeling, what programs do you recommend for this? And, are they free to download?

Check the forum's FAQs.

:)

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Programming and Art aren't all that dissimilar in some respects, its more a matter of understanding their underlying symmetry (for those who are inclined to use symmetry).

Try reading So you want to be a pixel artist?, Creating good game art when your not an artist, and visiting some of the Artist Communities below in my signature, you can find a lot more tutorials and help with advice/critiquing on your technique there if your still interested in learning.

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